This article deals with Religion as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
Religion is a strong element of both the gameplay and roleplay aspects of NS. In line with the predominantly Western background of NS players, most religious issues assume that the dominant religion of NS nations is Christianity, although others, including a bloody cult dedicated to the worship of Violet, are mentioned.
Players generally assume that the religion described by daily issues is just a placeholder for whatever religion or religions are present in their nation. In line with the tendency to mould a nation after one's own image, often this will be the religion they themselves follow. Some nations follow religions based on other aspects of their background (such as being a nation of Elves.) Other players prefer to invent completely new religions or sects, although these rarely gain much influence outside their own nation. Notable exceptions to this rule are Sirithilism, Reich-style Christianity, the historical Ton Ton Macoute, the Order of the Invisible Hand, and Terranism.
With roleplayed faiths that have real-life equivalents, how the religion's existence is justified in a fictional nation varies. (In the NS world, which country was Buddha born in? What direction do Muslims pray to?) Because of this, various flamefests have emerged between nations who have resolved this inconsistency in different ways; there are several nations that claim to be the seat of the one true Roman Catholic Pope, for instance. Generally, this kind of appropriation of real-world entities should be handled carefully, and particularly in the case of religion, which is likely to get other players very hot under the collar; it's best to make sure it's okay with everybody you roleplay with first.
Like other forms of wank, this is essentially making up a religion in order to be offended about something, usually a UN proposal. If the UN proposes that quotas be put upon the hunting of hoary marmots, it's easy to respond 'My Ascending Theokarnitic sects consider the hunting of the marmot to be a core pillar of their faith! How can you oppress them so?' rather than coming up with actual arguments. On the other hand, doing this with pre-invented religions is considered more acceptable, and if someone invents a religion on the spot in the hopes of stimulating good RP (rather than just being obstructionist), there is less of a problem.